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May 5, 2012

FSU blasts four home runs in 10-3 win over Maryland

No. 1 Florida State mashed its way passed Maryland 10-3 on Saturday afternoon in the first of a three game series.

Four different Seminoles hit home runs, including a back-to-back pair from Devon Travis and James Ramsey in the first inning.

Starter Brandon Leibrandt improved to 6-1 on the year as he allowed no earned runs on four hits and one walk in six innings of work. He struck out four batters.

"I'm very proud of the way we came out and got it done against a very good Maryland team," FSU head coach Mike Martin said. "We got some outstanding pitching from Brandon Leibrandt and as we've said all along, that's where it all begins."

Travis got the ball rolling for the Seminoles offense as he launched a 1-2 fastball over the left field wall for his fifth home run of the year. It was also the fist homer that Terrapin starter Jimmy Reed (1-3) had allowed all season.

It wasn't long until Reed had allowed two homers as Ramsey promptly homered to right on an 0-1 pitch for his 10th long ball of the year. FSU added another run in the inning as Jayce Boyd scored while John Nogowski was caught in a rundown between first and second.

"They were both pretty short strokes," Ramsey said of the home runs. "They weren't big home run swings. (Evan) Geist and I looked at film on the bus ride over to Jacksonville (on Wednesday) and looked at some things where I can simplify my game stance wise. Just keeping everything quiet, that's what I've been trying to do these last two games and it's been working pretty well."

In the third FSU added four more runs for a 7-0 lead on a solo home run from Sherman Johnson, a two-run single by Stephen McGee, and a Justin Gonzalez RBI.

The home run for Johnson was his first since April 17, 2011 against Virginia Tech. It was his lone long ball of the season. Making his homer more improbable was the fact that Johnson was battling the flu and was unable to take part in pregame warm ups and barely slept on Friday night.

"I was just really happy," said Johnson who was 2 for 4 with two RBI. "I was like 'Finally, finally I hit one.' When I came in everyone was like 'He's faking.'"

In the fifth it was Gonzalez's turn to join in on the home run derby as he blasted a two-run homer to right. FSU added another run on an RBI double by Johnson for a 10-0 lead. It was the first time FSU had four home runs in a game since the season opener on February 17 against Hofstra.

With a large cushion, Leibrandt was able to attack the Maryland lineup and cruise to his third straight victory.

"Going out there pitching with a lead it's a lot more stress-free," Leibrandt said. "Just pound the zone the best you can and get the team back in the dugout and let them swing the bats and put more runs up on the board."

With the game in hand FSU was able to save the back end of its bullpen and get some work for Brandon Johnson, Peter Miller, Evan Geist, and Mack Waugh in the final three frames of the game.

The four relievers allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits and two walks in the three innings of work as FSU improved to 38-7 overall and 20-2 in the ACC. Maryland fell to 29-21 and 8-17 in the ACC.

Reed, who had an ERA of 1.81 entering Saturday, fell to 1-3 as took the loss for Maryland. He allowed seven earned runs on seven hits, including three home runs, and four walks in three innings.

"It was obviously just a big-time jump start when you go back-to-back," Martin said of the offense's fast start. "There's just no question that it has a tendency to lift you. That's what it did for us, because we went on to get 12 hits. Getting 12 hits off a club as Maryland is a tremendous accomplishment."

The two teams will return to action for game two on Sunday at 2 p.m. Mike Compton (8-0, 2.56 ERA) will be on the mound for FSU, opposite of Brett Harman (6-3, 2.79 ERA).

Notable

  • The outing for Miller was his first since April 15 due to shoulder soreness. He allowed an unearned run on one hit with no walks in his lone inning of work.

  • The win was the 21st in a row for the Seminoles in Dick Howser stadium over Maryland dating back to March 26, 1998.

  • The back-to-back home runs in the first inning were the first for FSU since Jose Brizuela and John Nogowski went back-to-back on April 7 at Georgia Tech.



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